Frontline Recruiting in Mexico: The Impact of the 40-Hour Workweek Legislation

Tag icon
High-volume hiring

The possible approval of the 40-hour workweek law in Mexico marks a significant milestone in labor legislation. This initiative, aimed at enhancing working conditions, garnered strong support from 94% of Mexican workers, as revealed in a survey conducted by OCCMundial last June. 

This is an 8-hour reduction from the previously standing 48-hour workweek in Mexico. Though there are benefits that would come from this change, it’s important not to overlook the challenges that its implementation may bring.

This initiative will have profound implications for the recruiting process, especially for frontline industries, from recruiting more candidates to helping employees adapt to a tighter workday. 

Let's take a closer look at the possible challenges businesses, recruiters, and frontline workers will face in this new landscape.

How the 40-hour workweek in Mexico impacts businesses

It is not new information that Mexico’s frontline workforce has historically put in long hours. The shift to a 40-hour workweek model would significantly change the entire social and economic landscape. The impact of this change cannot be understated, as Mexico currently has the longest average working hours in the world, standing at 52 hours per week

Both enterprises and SMBs will be deeply affected by this change in the legislation, facing new recruiting scenarios, demanding a more effective workforce, and rethinking compensation across the board. 

Local enterprises

Navigating the transition to a 40-hour workweek is not simply a matter of adjusting schedules; it is a multifaceted, complex undertaking that will require a complete reevaluation of operational frameworks and recruiting processes. The transition to a 40-hour workweek will require foundational changes, including structural, procedural, and programmatic adjustments. 

Nearshoring enterprises

These challenges are not just for organizations born and based out of Latin America. Organizations that have adopted a nearshoring strategy–especially post-pandemic–will not be immune to these changes. In fact, the hiring teams may face even more significant challenges attempting to manage these adjustments across borders or oceans.

SMBs and micro-enterprises

The impact of this reform on small businesses, like micro-enterprises and SMBs, largely stems from a lack of strategies to adapt to the changes. Business chambers are expressing concerns about potential harm to the economy if the reform passes, highlighting that a shorter working day could lead to the collapse of small and medium-sized companies, increasing unemployment.

To ease these effects, it will be crucial to implement hiring practices and training approaches that streamline the workday and boost productivity. SMBs need to embrace technology to automate processes, ensuring efficiency even with a shorter workday.

Addressing business concerns

Because of these foreseen challenges for all organizations doing business within Mexico, the CEG (Consejo de Empresas Globales, or “Global Business Council” in English) pronounced itself in favor of the reform but asked representatives to consider four aspects for its implementation:

  1. Gradualness so that the changes are implemented in phases.
  2. Flexibility of the rule to address the reality of each sector and company size.
  3. Exceptions to the rule in industries with particular dynamics.
  4. Incentives for companies to invest in more personnel.

With these considerations, businesses should have a better opportunity to ease into these substantial changes. However, even with a tiered approach to rolling out this legislation, organizations must prioritize innovation.

The Impact of the 40-Hour Workweek on Recruiters 

We have stated the challenges this shift will cause for the overall structure of enterprises and SMBs. But what about their recruitment teams? From scanning resumes to receiving candidate documentation, it’s essential that hiring teams reevaluate and plan how to transition to a new way of recruiting. 

There are a few changes that we anticipate recruiters will face with the 40-hour workweek:

  • An increased pressure to fill more frontline positions almost immediately to operate within the new labor regulations.
  • A particular focus on meeting deadlines and objectives, so productivity will be key.
  • An improvement in the search for applicants with profiles that demonstrate skills such as organization, autonomy, and flexibility to increase efficiency and productivity during working hours.
  • A decrease in learning curves and a shortening of onboarding processes. As Carlos Henríquez, commercial director of the recruitment and selection company SOS Group, pointed out in America Economia: "With an induction strategy, the learning curve will be shorter, i.e., the time it takes the worker to learn a new task or work methodology will be as short as possible."

Because of this, it is important that hiring processes are as efficient as possible while still delivering top candidates. 

The Impact of the 40-Hour Workweek on Frontline Employees 

The latest figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that Mexico has ceded first place to Colombia as the country with the most hours worked. 

Mexico averages 2,405 hours per person per year, while throughout North America, the average is 2,226 hours. The average for all OECD nations is 1,752 hours per year. In other words, Mexico’s workforce puts in an additional 482 hours a year, equivalent to two extra months of work each year. 

The approval of the 40-hour workweek could be crucial to allow employees a more balanced lifestyle. Here are some of the biggest benefits that are anticipated for the frontline workforce as a consequence of this change in the labor law:

  • Enhanced productivity: Shorter work hours can increase concentration and productivity as employees are more refreshed and motivated.
  • Increased engagement: Employees with time to unwind tend to be more engaged and content, elevating overall morale and retention rates.
  • Boosted creativity: Unburdened by exhaustion, workers can use their free time to fuel creativity and innovation, engaging in activities that foster personal and professional growth.
  • Reduced stress and improved health: A shorter workday improves overall health, allowing employees time for exercise, checkups, and prioritizing their well-being.

The 40-hour workweek and recruitment automation

Employers will need to recruit at a higher volume to fill the same number of roles and shifts. This is assuming that there is no growth in those businesses, which is not the goal, of course. This, in addition to frontline workers’ desire to find new opportunities fast, recruitment automation and AI are going to be essential tools in recruiting processes. 

Recruitment automation for frontline employers and recruiters

Adopting and implementing new technologies takes time, effort, and focus. However, especially with the immediate need for optimization of hiring processes in Mexico, the benefits far exceed the investment. Here are a few ways automation and AI can support frontline recruiting efforts:

1. Higher quality of hires

Automation enables a more accurate assessment of candidates by utilizing company-defined profiles, ensuring that new employees are aligned with the company's operational needs. This contributes to team stability and strengthens cohesion and effectiveness in the workplace.

2. Fewer redundancies in the hiring process

Automating routine tasks allows recruiting professionals to focus on strategic initiatives and build meaningful relationships with candidates without compromising selection quality.

Solutions geared toward the unique needs of frontline recruiters, like Emi’s frontline recruitment automation platform,  can meet the demands of new employment legislation and significantly improve efficiency, productivity, and satisfaction for HR professionals and job candidates.

3. Shorter time to fill

With automation, organizations can set up communication workflows to keep candidates informed about their application status, schedule interviews, and position information, all without requiring intervention. This reduces delays caused by manual communication processes and supports the hiring process moving forward smoothly.

Slash time to fill for hourly positions! Get the guide:

Recruiting automation for frontline candidates

Candidates will also benefit from automation and AI tools when they seek new opportunities. Here are a few ways recruitment automation can benefit frontline candidates:

1. Broader job accessibility

Automation streamlines the recruitment process, making job opportunities more readily available to frontline workers. By expediting hiring procedures, automation ensures that frontline employees can secure employment faster and more efficiently.

2. Greater job satisfaction

With automation handling routine tasks, recruiters can dedicate more time to understanding frontline workers' needs and preferences. This personalized approach fosters greater job satisfaction among frontline employees, as their aspirations are considered and matched with suitable roles.

3. Better candidate experience

Shortened time to hire and streamlined communication processes give frontline workers clarity on job applications and offers. This also translates to new hires being able to refer more potential candidates because of their positive experience with the employer.

Emi in action

Recruiting automation is one of the most valuable tools in this new labor scenario. That’s why Emi’s frontline recruiting platform, built for mobile-first hiring, will enable a quality candidate experience with intelligent screening, automated interview scheduling, and personalized engagement and onboarding.

Here are a few organizations that utilized recruiting automation and saw incredible improvements in hiring processes:


By utilizing Emi’s responsive AI chatbot, Nemak was able to follow up with 100% of candidates, and applicants were able to get their questions answered 24/7 instead of having to wait for normal business hours. In the first half of the year, Nemak was able to hire 54% more new employees than the previous year by utilizing Emi. 


By utilizing Emi to streamline every step of the hiring process, Heineken’s talent acquisition team was able to cut their manual work by over 10,000 hours. This allowed them to focus on building the employer brand and acting on their talent acquisition strategy.

Burger King

Since partnering with Emi, the HR team at Burger King has been able to recover 5-10% of the HR team's time previously spent on interview coordination and accelerate time to hire by 30%—saving an average of 5 days, increasing both recruiters and candidates satisfaction within the process.

Become Emi’s next success story

If you are facing the uncertainty and complexity that comes with the changes happening in Mexico’s frontline market, Emi is here to help.

See how recruitment automation and AI can support your company's needs as it scales its high-volume hiring infrastructure. Discover the power of Emi's software by requesting a custom demo today!

New call-to-action

Continue reading

Recruiting automation—for the frontline, for the future

Enhance the candidate experience by accelerating and automating high-volume hiring.
Schedule a demo
Emi provides a free demo of our recruiting automation platform